Did Music Evolve?

first_imgNature is running a nine-part series on music.  The most recent entry by Josh McDermott, psychologist at University of Minnesota, asked how music might have evolved.1  The theme, with variations, is that nobody knows.    Music is a uniquely human trait.  It is ubiquitous across cultures.  Bird songs and animal calls, while musical to us, do not appear to have a music-appreciation function to the animals themselves.  The great apes have nothing like it.  McDermott stated the theme in paragraph one:We think we understand why we are driven to eat, drink, have sex, talk and so forth, based on the uncontroversial adaptive functions of these urges.  The drive to engage in music, a compulsion that is arguably just as pervasive in our species, has no such ready explanation.  Music was one human behaviour that Charles Darwin was uncertain he could explain, writing in The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex: “As neither the enjoyment nor the capacity of producing musical notes are faculties of the least use to man … they must be ranked amongst the most mysterious with which he is endowed.”With access to all the latest insights from evolutionary biologists and psychologists, was McDermott at least able to suggest a leading explanation?  No; “Music’s origins have remained puzzling in the years since, although there is no shortage of speculation on the subject.”  Speculation is cheap.  Science demands a more convincing body of evidence.    McDermott ran through the list of short answers: attracting mates, pacifying babies, a spin-off of language evolution (which only creates two problems).  “These discussions run the risk of being mostly ‘Just-So’ stories, as there are few data with which to test or constrain theories.”  He didn’t have much more to say other than to suggest ways future studies might suggest possible answers.    For his finale, he called music an “enduring puzzle” that may never have an evolutionary explanation. Music is universal, a significant feature of every known culture, and yet does not serve an obvious, uncontroversial function.  As such it stands in contrast to other universal human behaviours.  Speculation about its possible adaptive functions has been popular since the time of Darwin, and shows few signs of resolution.  Empirical approaches offer a promising alternative.  There is no guarantee that a full account of music’s origins will ever emerge; in fact, that seems quite unlikely at present.  Nonetheless, the right experiments will reveal a great deal – about the innate core of musical behaviour, the traits that might be unique to music, and the possible origins of those components that are not.  All of which promises to enrich our appreciation of this human obsession.His coda thus repeated the theme allargando in minor.1.  Josh McDermott, “The evolution of music,” Nature 453, 287-288 (15 May 2008) | doi:10.1038/453287a.Do you want to follow the Darwinians, who admit that after 149 years they have nothing but speculations and just-so stories?  How much time should they get before admitting defeat?  Why not come back to the theists who love music as a gift of God to sentient creatures?  Music demonstrates that we are more than physical bodies.  Music is the expression of souls and spirits who are able to communicate rationally on a divine level.  Drive a Darwinist crazy: sing a hymn.    May we suggest a short piece to cleanse out of your mind all thoughts that music evolved?  Of the thousands of beautiful pieces of music that could be selected (and we are sure each person has their favorites), here is one that approaches musical perfection – a blend of human voice and orchestra that, to a well-trained ear, will lift one’s soul to heaven.  It achieves a perfect balance of simplicity and complexity, melody and harmony, dynamism and tranquillity, loud and soft, orchestral tone color, alternating masculine and feminine voices, and a designed structure that enhances its spiritual message.  It’s the fourth movement from the Brahms German Requiem, “How Lovely Is Thy Dwelling Place.”*  English versions are available, but a particularly superb performance is sung in German by Gachinger Kantorei of Stuttgart, conducted by Helmuth Rilling, available for just 99 cents on iTunes or at eMusic.  This gem is only 5 minutes long.  Listen through good headphones and try to convince yourself that musical artistry this superb is a product of evolution.*Text: How lovely is Thy dwelling place, O Lord of hosts.  O my soul; it longeth, yea fainteth for the courts of the Lord.  My heart and flesh cry out for the living God.  Blessed are they that dwell in the house of the Lord; they will ever praise Thee.(Visited 8 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Join Brand South Africa live on Twitter with Homecoming Revolution’s Angel Jones

first_imgAngel Jones, founder and CEO of Homecoming RevolutionJoin Brand South Africa on Wednesday 18 March for a 20-minute live-tweeting conversation with the inspirational Angel Jones, founder and CEO of Homecoming Revolution. The session will reach out to Global South Africans for questions on contributing to skills and employment in South Africa.Brand South Africa will collect the questions from Global South Africans, and tweet them via its Twitter platform @Brand_SA to @HomecomingRev. The questions will be retweeted by Global South Africans.Brand South Africa will also direct the live Twitter questions it receives during the session to Homecoming Revolution.• Date: Wednesday 18 March 2015• Time: 1pm UK time, 3pm South African time• Hashtag: #GSAHomecoming• For more, visit @Brand_SA, @glosaf and @HomecomingRevAbout Angel JonesAngel is the founder and CEO of Homecoming Revolution, the one-stop platform that brings home African diaspora professionals.With a BA in English and Economics from the University of Cape Town, Jones spent seven years at M&C Saatchi in London before returning home to South Africa. In 2000 she co-founded Morrisjones Advertising, where she created the kulula.com brand, the Wimpy “Foreign” ad, the Bafana Bafana World Cup Parade and the Rubybox “Come to Me” ad.She is a founding member of Entrepreneur’s Organisation South Africa and is a board member of Roedean School. Her accolades include a mention by President Thabo Mbeki in the 2004 State of the Nation Address, SABC Shoprite Checkers Woman of the Year Award in Media in 2004, Ernst & Young World Entrepreneur Awards finalist 2007, and African Leadership Network New Generation Leader 2011.She is married to Carlos Gomes. They have an 11-year-old daughter, a seven-year-old son, two cats and seven chickens.Angel Jones loves• Being African• Being alive in the technology age, in which you can easily communicate with thousands of people around the world• Speaking at events, meeting new people and staying in touchAngel Jones hates• Unbalanced journalism on Africa• Realising she’s using too many exclamation marks• The Comic Sans typefaceWhy Homecoming Revolution?“It was Madiba himself who inspired me to return home from London,” Jones says. “I feel very privileged to be alive at this vital turning point for Africa, and I truly believe that we can play a major role in creating prosperity for Africa”Angel Jones’s favourite quote“The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do” – Steve Jobs, AppleAbout the Homecoming RevolutionEstablished in 2003, Homecoming Revolution is the proven brain gain company for Africa, with a focus on South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda and Ghana. We introduce worldwide African professionals to employers and relocation services back home.last_img read more

Screencasts of Twine’s Facelift; Does It Live Up to the Hype?

first_imgWe’ve chronicled semantic web service Twine’s birth, checkered youth, and recent woes in terms of traffic waning and criticism waxing.We’ve been given screencasts of the new version of this knowledge management application – screencasts of both the consumer- and developer-facing facets of the site. Take a look, and let us know if the new Twine lives up to expectations. This new version, we are told, will be live by the end of the year.The consumer product promises to supplant keyword search by treating the web like a huge database, with filtering capabilities that allow users to pare down search results to only the most relevant, applicable, and useful links. Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Related Posts A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… jolie odell Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic…center_img Developers and other techies can check out this screencast exploring Twine’s collaboratively authored ontologies: 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Tags:#Semantic Web#web The Twine folks see the new version as a realization of Tim Berners-Lee’s vision of the semantic web. So what do ReadWriteWeb readers think; is the new Twine worth the wait? Does it live up to the hype? Leave your expert comments below.last_img read more

N.J. Amusement Park Plans Sprawling Solar Project

first_imgIt’s not over yetSix Flags Great Adventure President John Fitzgerald said in an earlier interview that the solar farm would generate virtually all of the electricity the park uses, and would reduce carbon emissions by nearly 226,000 tons over a 15-year period. He said that was nearly 24 times the carbon dioxide the forest would be capable of removing, according to the newspaper.In addition, Fitzgerald said that the amusement park would plant nearly 26,000 trees elsewhere on the property over a seven-year stretch.“This actually helps reduce the carbon footprint of humanity in the park,” he said. “And the trees — we’re replanting the trees. Now, it may take a few years for those trees to come on line, but eventually they will, so how can it not be a net gain for the environment?”But the argument didn’t hold much water with environmental activists. Four environmental groups filed suit last May to block the plan, and hearings have been marked by shouting matches between town officials and an attorney representing environmentalists.Things got testy at the most recent planning board meeting when the attorney for the amusement park accused opponents of wanting too much and bending too little.“It is never enough with these organizations because it seems to me it’s either their way or the highway,” the newspaper quoted attorney Raymond Shea as saying.The lawsuit is apparently still pending, and one environmentalist complained that they’d have to make the same arguments all over again.“The planning board was in the pocket of the developer from day one,” said Clean Water Action campaign director David Pringle. “They had more than enough discretion to vote no and we think they violated their own ordinances. We’ll be here again unless they wise up because the courts are going to tell them they did it wrong.”In giving approval to the plan, the town imposed five conditions, including requirements that a biologist be on site during the tree cutting, the solar company use the highest grade of solar panel available, and that Six Flags place $150,000 in escrow for tree removal fees. A year of protests by local residents and environmentalists wasn’t enough to deter the Jackson, New Jersey, planning board from granting permission to the Six Flags Great Adventure amusement park to install a field of solar panels — a project that will require loggers to fell 15,000 trees on the property.The Asbury Park Press said in an online story that after nine public hearings and 30 hours of testimony, the city approved plans on March 23 to clearcut the site of the future photovoltaic facility.The amusement park originally planned to clear 90 acres of trees for the solar farm, but later scaled the plans back to 66 acres.A half-dozen environmental groups, including the Sierra Club, Save Barnegat Bay, and the New Jersey Conservation Foundation, had opposed the project, along with people who live nearby.“I’m very much in favor of solar panels, but not at the expense of the nature we’re trying to save,” resident Linda McHale told the newspaper in February. “We have a beautiful habitat here. What’s the reason we would let it go — because somebody wants to build solar panels?”A crowd of nearly 50 people gathered for the planning board vote, many of them wearing stickers that said, “Don’t kill the Earth to save it.” Sierra Club of New Jersey Executive Director Jeff Tittel said that the planned facility “gives green energy a black eye.”“You have to have the right project and the right site,” he said. “This was the right project but the wrong site.”The photovoltaic facility will consist mostly of ground-mounted panels, with some mounted on canopies over employee parking areas. Critics had wanted the amusement park to install all the panels on canopies over an adjacent 100-acre parking lot so that trees would not have to be removed, but park managers said that wasn’t practical.last_img read more

2019 NRL Touch Premiership Draw

first_imgThe 2019 NRL Touch Premiership draw had to be revised slightly (Brisbane Broncos homegames were changed to suit Suncorp Stadium requirements). This is the up-to-date draw.To buy tickets to these NRL Touch Premiership men’s and women’s matches and their subsequent NRL fixtures, go to tickets.nrl.com26 gamedays16 teams8 clubs12 stadiums9 cities5 months2 nationsStarting 6th April 2019!last_img

10 months agoBologna director Di Vaio reveals plans to add psychologist for players

first_imgAbout the authorCarlos VolcanoShare the loveHave your say Bologna director Di Vaio reveals plans to add psychologist for playersby Carlos Volcano10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveBologna director Marco Di Vaio admits they’re hiring a psychologist to work with the players.The Rossoblu sit third from bottom with just 12 points, though earned a credible draw with AC Milan in midweek.“Bologna are thinking about bringing in a figure who can help work with the players on their minds and mentality,” Di Vaio told Il Resto del Carlino newspaper.“He’d be a psychologist more than a mental coach. The last few weeks have been full of pressure and tension. “It’s not always easy to challenge oneself.” last_img

25 days agoEveryone will know ‘top class’ Man Utd youngster Garner – Fletcher

first_imgAbout the authorFreddie TaylorShare the loveHave your say Everyone will know ‘top class’ Man Utd youngster Garner – Fletcherby Freddie Taylor25 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveFormer Manchester United star Darren Fletcher believes that James Garner is one to watch from the club’s academy.Garner has received significant praise for his performances for the under-23 side so far this season.He is a goalscoring, box to box midfielder who has appeared a level above the others at the under-23 level.And Fletcher believes the 18-year-old is a huge talent who can go all the way.”People talk about the leaders and who is going to help them, which is an important side [to the argument], so it’s a difficult one but I’m sure as the season goes on you’re going to see more of James Garner because he’s top class,” Fletcher told BBC Radio 5 Live.”I’m surprised he’s not featured so far but by the end of the season I’m sure that people will know who he is without a doubt, if you don’t by now.” last_img read more

The Seahawks Dont Stand A Chance Unless Russell Wilson Can Keep Up

The most anticipated matchup of the divisional round of the NFL playoffs might be the Atlanta Falcons’ No. 1 scoring offense against the Seattle Seahawks’ No. 3 scoring defense. But the game between the two teams may be decided when the ball is in Russell Wilson’s hand.When the two met in Week 6, the Seahawks edged the Falcons in Seattle, 26-24. But both teams have played a lot of football since then, and though Wilson has already led the Seahawks to eight playoff wins in his young career, he might not have enough talent around him to go into the Georgia Dome on Saturday and end the Falcons’ season.The most obvious change to either team has been the Seahawks’ loss of safety Earl Thomas; his five-year Pro Bowl streak ended when he missed five of the Seahawks’ last six regular-season games with injuries. With him patrolling the backfield, the Seahawks allowed just 16.4 points per game. In the Seahawks’ five regular-season games without him, opponents averaged 22.4 points, including 34 points in a home capitulation to the already-eliminated Arizona Cardinals.But as much as the Seahawks have missed Thomas, it is their offense that has struggled with explosiveness and consistency all season. The 26-6 final score of last week’s wild card game against the Detroit Lions might make it look as though the Seahawks are back to business as usual. But going into the fourth quarter the score was just 10-6.While the Seahawks’ offensive line earned praise for its dominant run-blocking performance against Detroit, it also allowed slumping Lions pass-rusher Ezekiel Ansah to register two sacks, as many as he tallied throughout the regular season. The Seahawks will have a much tougher task on Saturday when they face the Falcons’ Vic Beasley, who had 15.5 sacks in the regular season.Tailback Thomas Rawls set a franchise playoff rushing record against the Lions, but going into the rematch with the Falcons there’s little depth behind him. Christine Michael, the Seahawks’ top rusher in the first Atlanta game, now plays for the Green Bay Packers. Head coach Pete Carroll told reporters that C.J. Procise, who has been out since Week 11 with a shoulder injury, will be a game-time decision; fifth-round rookie Alex Collins would be the only option behind Rawls if Procise can’t go.Between Michael, tailback C.J. Spiller and receiver/returner Tyler Lockett, 43 percent of the Seahawks’ 333 total yards in Week 6 were produced by players no longer on the Seahawks active roster, and the Falcons still outgained them 362-333 in that game. Wilson targeted wideouts on just 43.2 percent of his attempts; according to Pro Football Reference’s charting, he attempted only two passes deeper than 14 yards all day. He threw no touchdowns.The lack of deep passing that day was partly by design, to keep opposing pass-rushers off the banged-up Wilson.“We’ve been careful in how we would expose Russ,” head coach Pete Carroll later told the team’s official site. “He was begging us to do more and all that, but we were trying to do the right thing by him, and he was doing phenomenal things just to play for the last two months.” But Wilson’s adjusted yards-per-attempt didn’t increase meaningfully after that interview.Though three rushing touchdowns got Seattle the points they needed to win in Week 6, they might not have happened if the Falcons hadn’t set them up: Ryan’s sack-fumble on his own nine-yard line led to the game’s first score; his interception near midfield set up the last one.Even then, it almost wasn’t enough. The Seahawks’ final go-ahead field goal still left Ryan and company with a 1:57 to drive for a game-winning score; a controversial fourth-down no-call sent them packing:Since that play, however, the Falcons spent the season improving — and proving themselves the better team.In Football Outsiders’ Weighted DVOA, which prioritizes recent performance, the Falcons are the No. 4-ranked overall team at 19.8 percent; the Seahawks are ranked 14th at 4.7 percent. While the Seahawks’ offense ranked 17th in both season-long (-2.7 percent) and weighted (-2.1 percent) DVOA, the Falcons’ defense rises from 27th (8.1 percent) to 22nd (5.6 percent) when recent games are more heavily weighted.Now Wilson will have go on the road and score more points against the improved Falcons than Ryan can score against the Seahawks’ struggling defense.Check out our latest NFL playoff predictions. read more

Spalletti bemoans penalty decision

first_imgInter Milan coach Luciano Spalletti has blamed a “clear as day” penalty decision after they lost 1-0 at home to Parma.There was also controversy in the match, as Dimarco appeared to make contact with the ball his elbow, but VAR officials refused to award Inter Milan a penalty. A decision that has drawn the ire of Spalletti.“Now I see the video, that really did look to be handball. I don’t know how VAR works, but he really did deflect the ball away from the goal with his arm. It was outstretched, that ball could’ve gone anywhere. That was clear as day.” Spalletti told Sky Sports Italia.“It’s disappointing that Parma came out to obstruct and time-waste, we even saw Luigi Sepe throw an extra ball on to the pitch to stop us taking a quick corner.”Spalletti also questioned his side’s attitude during the game.Romelu Lukaku, Serie A, Inter MilanCapello calls Lukaku “a modern striker” Manuel R. Medina – September 14, 2019 The former Italian manager believes Romelu Lukaku is perfectly suited for Antonio Conte’s Internazionale Milan in the Serie A.“I don’t understand this sluggish approach in some situations compared to others. Nothing is owed to us, no matter what our names are.“That attitude can at times come from the desire to do something more, it doesn’t work, so we get disorganised and the opposition takes advantage.“We messed up too many crosses, too many passes for the quality at our disposal. We introduced Matteo Politano for the second half to add fresh legs, but he looked weighed down by the pressure and could barely run. It’s not physical form or fitness training, it’s the desperate attempt to do more and it leads to fractures within the team’s organisation.“Now we must do well to analyse these games in the right way and realise we have the capability to do far more than this. If the players perform below their capabilities, that is the responsibility of the Coach.”last_img read more